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DoseNation 24: Quantum What?

James Kent is fed up with people abusing qualities of quantum mechanics to make ludicrous statements about non-local consciousness and the mysterious nature of reality. QM and non-locality have nothing to do with consciousness, and Quantum Electrodynamics makes the most accurate predictions known confirming the standard model of scientific reality, doing the opposite of what people think. Quantum Mechanics, the double-slit experiment, wave-particle duality, superpositions, Schrodinger's Cat, QED, virtual particles, entangled particles, and more are discussed in completely non-mysterious detail that anyone can understand.

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Posted By jamesk at 2013-06-27 11:37:05 permalink | comments
Tags: podcast dosenation quantum physics
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jamesk : 2013-08-12 11:06:16
Hey Predrag, great comments. I agree with everything you say. Our mathematical models of reality are crude but accurate. This is a limitation of mathematics, which strives to describe phenomena with the most efficient set of symbols for the general case. Undoubtedly the stuff of reality is far more complex and mysterious than the math can model, but the math is still an accurate representation of reality. Even though our models may become more precise, reality will always stay the same, which means...

No matter how refined our math models become, no matter how deep we dive into micro-tubules or whatever, consciousness will still remain physical, will conform to the known laws of physics, and organic nonlocal consciousness will still not exist. For instance, just because Einstein refined Newton's physical model of Gravity, Gravity remained exactly the same. No matter how far we reduce the physical nature of consciousness through neuroscience, quantum mechanics, and so on, consciousness will always remain exactly the same in form and function. No matter how far our understanding progresses, we cannot magically will "nonlocal consciousness" into a real thing, it breaks all those laws of physics, and new laws refine old laws, they do not reverse them.

Predrag Boksic ( : 2013-08-12 06:10:57
Feynman diagrams of particle interactions are numerous. One series of diagrams includes many, many possible interactions when studying a single phenomenon. It is as if the more possibilities you depict and calculate, the more accurate the scheme is. Perhaps someday we won't use this method/truth. For example, an algorithm that calculates the decimals of number PI made of infinitely many small additions to a particular sum that equals pi, represents an infinitely slow way to calculate PI. There are methods that shoot out millions of decimals right away.

Some possible interactions in Feynman diagrams are backwards in time. The particles that go backward turned out to be antiparticles of common particles in the forward-moving time frame. Has the evidence for time-reverse been evaded then? No. Its different.

There are interactions - lets call them reactions, because they are like chemical reactions at the small scale - reactions that involve several particles. These can be reversed. For example, a+b -> c+d AND BACKWARDS too, which means that nature does not care about the arrow of time at the small scale. Physicists did not discover that the time arrow exists: the answer is not in those diagrams, but maybe its in the world of complexity at large scales where the time arrow seems to exist .

The last issue in this small text window, is the quantum consciousness. I do not know anything special about this topic and can only refer to Stuart Hameroff's website with the same name. This is a legitimate research in the area of biology, with emphasis on any interesting properties of biomolecules that might be discovered or have been discovered. Also, it covers a bit of philosophy of mind, which I haven't read.

There is a continuous stream of discoveries about biological cells. That is good to keep in mind as it may stop the resentment that people feel over old conflicting topics. For example, even water has unknown properties, so recently new findings have been added to how water molecules sort themselves in space under the influence of light.

At DoseNation, you perhaps heard about protein receptors and their agonists and how molecules fit into molecules.

The research in physics is much worse than this. The physics of materials studies everything through the mathematics of quantum mechanics, which has awful outlook frequently. There is a strong necessity to choose only some properties, study them and present them in a beautiful way.

Hameroff mentions microtubules, tubes made of tubulin proteins that form the skeleton of cells. They are interesting tiny conductors that assemble and disassemble themselves and participate in many basic processes in the cell. There have been attempts to count the events that are taking place during the neuronal signal conduction for example, and (give-or-take) find the exact solution to the consciousness.

One or more neurons in my brain represent my mother in my memory. Its activity is perhaps just an event (flip of a bit) or just an electric signal that exists in the context of many more surrounding neurons. The quantum events depend from what is inside the neuron and listing the interactions on the small scale. I wouldn't be afraid to go inside: the reasonable thing is to assume that the radius of the given quantum law is rather small in scale. Some might sense with their radar that one cannot expand these notions to macroscale everyday events, but the composition of matter is peculiar and it may show interesting macroscale patterns because of that composition.

That about frames it.

Predrag Boksic ( : 2013-08-09 14:30:19
Electron (1) is one of the most important particles. Electrons are responsible for electricity, chemical reactions/bonds, molecules, and biology. The electromagnetic interaction - the exchange of photons (2) - mediates their mutual interaction. The two ingredients (1, 2) seem to explain the largest variety of natural phenomena that we deal with in everyday life. Of course, there are conglomerates called atoms and their different sizes which compose different molecules and materials. Some phenomena are about the atomic nucleus (see nuclear physics). If you understand this, you graduated classical physics, chemistry and perhaps biology all at once!

Electron is both a particle and a wave. Some experiments demonstrate one property more than another. The double slit experiment does not take sides.

If we bombard two tight, microscopic slits (holes) with single, sparse electrons, flying at random times, the accumulated pattern of dots on a film behind the slit, will show that the beam of electrons is similar to a ray of light in that it is a wave. The wave-like property is peculiar, because it stretches across the dimensions of time and space (or perhaps, across the dimensions of comprehension).

Each single electron participates in the creation of the cumulative pattern on film over time. We explain the pattern by using a model of interaction of two simultaneous, coincidental, neighboring waves emitted from the two slits on the other side of the obstacle, in the direction of the film. Its like a ray of light that splits in half, and then on the other side, two rays interact with each other. The explanation of interaction is geometric - it is the interference of waves.

So, the sparse electrons who do not know of one another, who do not travel like two parallel waves, possess statistical nature over time and space - their properties portray a simple, or understandable bigger picture that is mathematical, statistical, even familiar, yet beyond belief.

We are filling in the gaps as we speak by assuming the existence of waves, interactions, the whole geometry of the phenomenon. These mathematical inventions are counter intuitive and the brain is saying that they do not fit into the conventional view on the world, but there is evidence for the understanding that is beyond belief.

These electrons belong to a "statistical picture". The meaning of difficulty here is that a typical scientist will say that this picture is undocumented, unproven, despite the strange accuracy of quantum electrodynamics and other evidence. In other words, people feel that too much had to be constructed in our minds against the stream of everyday logic, even though there is evidence that the construct (theory) works (it makes amazing predictions). So far so good, you graduated again, but wait patiently until some other time - there is stuff that this theory did not predict or for which it hasn't been used yet to our benefit.

New findings in the world of complexity are beyond the computational power of old mathematical model formulated for the world of elementary particles.

Let us return to the topic. Other experiments show the "bigger picture" further. For example, a particle could go through a barrier even though it does not possess enough energy for such penetration. Such particle is a part of a statistical spectrum of a set of bombarding particles. The spectrum of energies exists - the nature itself implies it. We observe the evidence, but we do not allow ourselves to acknowledge that we formed this picture of nature in an unconventional way. Again, it feels as though the elements are part of a whole, but the whole is not a conventional object we can understand.

When we form the picture in our minds about the nature, we include all different possible interactions (events) at the same time. Even events that move backward and forward in time. This math accomplished success in physics.

Excuse my contradictions here - I do believe that you understand me and this whole ordeal in physics. I am merely wondering, do you feel the wonder?

Experiments must be the food of gods, because they feel so right. They are thrilling, but it is difficult to obtain solid articles on this topic, because the researchers and journalists are frequently losing their wit even when they are writing for peer-reviewed journals.

People who are not writing for peer-reviewed journals may accomplish something better when they try to write about these things.

A layperson might transform himself or herself along the way and lose the awareness of what he or she is talking about at all and start printing out the content of one's own philosophical, artistic or hallucinating mind and reveal its peculiarities. It is is as if the writing creates sufficient high and generates patterns on its own. The lack of distinction brings entertaining synesthesia of diagrams of different kinds.

Men of reason are worried about both issues. (I may leave both unnamed, because they don't have their distinct elementary particles, it seems. :-)

Lets us return only to the first issue. People worry that when somebody reports on the "entanglement" for instance, the whole news is contained entirely in the interpretation or in the sensationalism, that there isn't any real connection between distant particles that were correlated in some important way in some point of time.

We are also challenged to think about these things in new, creative ways, to show purpose of thought in science, or to try to win the audience. One should try to win the audience, because we need to guide each other across the barrier of conventional intelligence.

Liberal discussion looks like the only consolation in the world of peer-reviewed science, popular science and mysticism.

NBOME. : 2013-07-14 15:36:43
Thanks alot! This episode was much appreciated. I'd love some more episodes of you guys just talking about these things, although I like the episodes with guests to. Also very good work with PIT James K, it really changed my view of psychedelics.
Oysteroid. : 2013-07-14 10:17:41
Any chance there is a transcript of this podcast somewhere?
SomewhatEducatedPerson. : 2013-06-29 21:42:32
Thank you for this! It turns my stomach when I hear New Agies blather on about something so far beyond their comprehension.
jamesk : 2013-06-28 11:51:47
I did not explain quantum tunneling in the podcast, but that is another widely misunderstood effect. Maybe another day.
jamesk : 2013-06-28 11:38:49
@Quantum - Past measurements can be altered by future ones. You are being fooled with the title. The system is entangled by the measurements on both ends, and the system "randomizer" is based on the polarity of the photons. So it is not really random, because the polarity is set once the system is measured. If you don't get this I can explain in more detail, but it is not reverse-causality, it is a time-independent constraint of an entangled system with measurements on both ends. The math predicts this experiment, it is redundant, and it still does not break any FTL rules or pass any hidden information.

The Casmir effect does not use "nothing" to create energy, this is also a title written to "fool" you. Casmir effect takes advantage of virtual particle creation to create a very short-duration EM attraction. It is not weird, it confirms Feynman was given a Nobel Prize for QED for good reason. Again, overhyped title can make people think energy is created from "nothing" when in fact it is a well known jittering effect caused by electron-photon decay.

You can manipulate things that donít exist - again, what? This section is about electrons and photons, which certainly do exist, even if they have been destroyed. And quantum tunneling is not weird, electrons do not exist in two places at once, they are just measured that way. The math is not the reality. This article is a prime example of how people who don't understand the math and the experiments say stupid and misleading things.

QuantumWeirdnessBeatsScientism. : 2013-06-28 10:23:17

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